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In a nutshell: What went down on Day 2 of TechSparks Mumbai 2023

Close to 3,000 people joined us at Grand Hyatt Hotel and Residences over two days to celebrate the first-ever edition of TechSparks Mumbai. Here are some of the key sessions from Day 2.

In a nutshell: What went down on Day 2 of TechSparks Mumbai 2023

Thursday March 23, 2023 , 5 min Read

Lights, camera, action! After a packed Day 1, TechSparks Mumbai 2023 was back for an even larger Day 2. With speakers ranging from business and tech leaders, startup founders, and investors to influencers, innovators, and changemakers, action-packed insights, announcements, and narratives made it a day to remember.

The final day of the summit began with Ajai Chowdhary, Co-founder of HCL, joining YourStory’s Shradha Sharma for a fireside chat. Chowdhry’s journey from starting HCL with just Rs 1.6 lakh to scaling it up as one of India's leading IT hardware firms today is nothing short of phenomenal.

The man behind the first made-in-India desktop computer kicked off the morning by declaring that Indian startups have the opportunity to make the nation a hardware powerhouse, adding, “People want an alternative to China. That can only be India—due to the size of the market and the trustworthiness and goodwill in the global market.”

Several other speakers also underlined India’s capabilities and abilities to distinguish itself as a tech superpower across sectors. And many of them are looking to help innovators across the country make it happen. 

Dev Bajaj, Chief Strategy Officer of Dream Sports, highlighted the opportunities in the gaming sector—the firm is keen on backing entrepreneurs who can build solutions around gaming and e-sports in India. 

Using the US market as an example, Bajaj pointed out that companies like EA, Fanatics, and Roblox have already built multi-billion dollar businesses. It is only a matter of time before such large companies come out of India too, he noted.

Dev Bajaj

Dev Bajaj, CSO, Dream Sports

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Heads-up for innovative entrepreneurs in the mobility space, Maruti Suzuki India is looking to partner with you.

In a fireside chat, Aditya Aggarwal, Executive Vice President, Maruti Suzuki India, said he is looking for startups to help him solve the company’s problems. And if it works out, Maruti is ready to help these startups grow. The largest automobile manufacturer in India, Maruti Suzuki dominates almost 50% of the country’s auto industry.

But, the company’s success lies in its refusal to become complacent. Aggarwal said Maruti understands large corporations are often risk-averse, but moving slowly could leave the company vulnerable to innovative fast-moving startups. “Once someone comes with better technology and serves customers better, we are finished. We might collapse one day,” he added.

Speaking of collapsing, who doesn’t like a good turnaround story? At a time when WeWork Global is cutting jobs to reduce costs, its Indian franchisee—the best-performing entity for the global coworking giant—is back in growth mode with plans to add 10 new locations by August across six key metro cities. 

“Our dream is to have an India IPO story and continue to grow our top and bottom lines. Almost 20,000 desks year-on-year, which is over million-and-half square feet, in the foreseeable period is something we can easily do,” Karan Virwani, CEO of WeWork India, told Shradha Sharma. 

Innovation and growth are great but what is entrepreneurship without good policies? Kausthubh Dhavse, Officer on Special Duty to the Deputy Chief Minister of the state, spoke about Maharashtra’s focus on startups, saying that the government is rolling out the red carpet for entrepreneurs and focusing on infrastructure, connectivity, and speed of data and network.

Dhavse pointed out that India might have the advantage of a demographic dividend but that might soon turn into a demographic curse if the government of the day cannot create policies that can help the young population get jobs. And for that to happen, startups hold the key.

“For us to be successful, you (entrepreneurs) are important. We can’t be successful by making mega announcements. Only if you come to the party can we be successful,” he added.

Mira Rajput Kapoor

Mira Rajput Kapoor

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That’s not all. Celebrity influencer and public figure Mira Rajput Kapoor took the stage to talk about a key ingredient for success: authenticity. “Staying authentic, being clear and being dedicated to what you do. It holds true for a brand, product, company or a person,” she said.

As an influencer on Instagram with 4.4 million followers, Kapoor said keeping up an online persona has helped, particularly with keeping recall value. For the last five years, she has also been investing in early-stage startups as well and her portfolio companies include SARVA Yoga, Wellbeing Nutrition, and Zama Organics. 

In other news, in line with our continued commitment to developing narratives around the blockchain and Web3 space, YourStory once again partnered with Buidlers Tribe to identify promising and dynamic players in the Web3 sector, companies with the potential to play a key role in India’s tech agenda. 

TechSparks Mumbai marked the launch of the second edition of the Top 25 Web3 Innovations report. Click here to download a copy.

For the penultimate session of the first-ever Mumbai edition of India’s largest startup-tech conference, actor, entrepreneur, and investor Malaika Arora joined Shradha Sharma in a candid fireside chat. Looking back at her career of 30 years in Bollywood, Arora spoke about the importance of reinventing yourself to stay relevant, calling it a very difficult job. 

However, she added, "Life shouldn't be easy. If it's easy, where is the fun? I want it to be difficult. I am a sucker for challenges."

In September 2021, Arora launched her investment venture, Malaika Arora Ventures, which focuses on backing lifestyle, health, and wellness brands. It is looking to invest in the long-term growth of the brands and help them become Rs 100+ crore companies. An entrepreneur herself, Arora also owns a chain of yoga studios called Diva Yoga and aims to expand the chain across the country.

TechSparks Mumbai 2023 had a befitting grand finale with a ‘pitch fest’ where eight handpicked startups—among 2,200 applicants—were chosen to present their groundbreaking ideas in front of a jury—Anand Jain, Co-founder and CEO of CleverTap; Dev Bajaj, Chief Strategy Officer of Dream Sports; and Shradha Sharma—as well as the entire audience.  

For our full coverage on TechSparks Mumbai, click here.


Edited by Kanishk Singh